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An Athletic and Theatrical Collaboration Brings Women’s Soccer to the Stage

By Maxmillian Robinson

A creative blend of Adelphi’s performance teams took place the week of Oct. 4-10 on the stage in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) when the Department of Theatre conducted a play called “The Wolves,” featuring a story involving the Panther women’s soccer team.

The cast of “The Wolves” and the AU women's soccer team pose for a photo at the Oct. 7 performance when the team came to see the show. Photo courtesy of Margaret Lally

“The Wolves” is about a group of high school-aged women soccer players during a six-week period in their arena soccer season. The play takes place either right before or after soccer games and charts their lives, experiences and relationships with each other as they prepare for the games. Things happen during the course of this six-week period that will change their lives forever.

Margaret Lally, associate dean of faculty and programs in the theatre department, said she thought the idea for the play was a “perfect match” to have strong roles for women highlighted in performances on campus. There were eight current undergraduate students and one alum in the cast as “soccer mom.” There were also two alumni and a current student as understudies, which made 12 members of this all-female production.

“`The Wolves’ is about a young elite women's soccer team,” Lally said. “The entire play is warmups and drills for the game. I’ve wanted to collaborate with Athletics for a while, so I contacted Emily [Dorko, associate athletic director] and Brooke [DeRosa, head women's soccer coach] about ways to help train the actors for their roles. Juliana Klaum [assistant coach] became our soccer consultant and ran clinics for the women so they could train to prepare for the show.”

Klaum, an alumni of the AU women's soccer team, produced a soccer clinic leading up to the weeks before the show in hopes of making the performers somewhat proficient in their soccer skills.

However, there was a deal involved. Klaum said she would help the theatre team by training the actors in soccer and providing them props for the show if the performers would attend their soccer game on Oct. 2. In return, the soccer team vowed to help the actors and attend one of their performances on Oct. 7. It was a win-win situation for both sides, as women’s soccer defeated American International College (AIC) 1-0, and the actors put on an amazing performance.

Lally said that Athletics assisted with banners and equipment for the show and the actors attended two home games.

Actor Madelyn Barkocy, who played role of #7 “the striker,” said she was grateful for the assistance she received from the soccer team.

“They had a [huge] impact in the character choices I made throughout this process,” she said. “We saw two of their home games as a group and really were able to observe their energy and attitudes on the field, as well as what they do to hype themselves up and get their bodies ready at the beginning of the game. Watching the games even influenced our hairstyles [into braids, twists and ponytails] for the show. They had such a huge impact and I’m so grateful we had that time to really see how the team plays and interacts.”

Carina Alvarez, who played the role of #00 in the play, said, “Seeing them play at their games and seeing some goalie action before the games helped me to understand the drills more and how to do them. They were fierce, determined to win, marking their man, staying on top of their game during breakaways, and that the goalies were really being communicative with the team. This definitely brought in some more character development and what being a goalie actually means.”

Overall, there was a good relationship between one of the members of the soccer team and the rest of the actors.

“I loved working with [Juliana],” actor Kimmarie McCrann (#14 midfielder), said. “She helped us all master the fundamentals of soccer in just a few weeks, which was super impressive, considering most of us had never played before.”

Lally said the resulting performances were “vibrant and lively,” with the play reaching maximum capacity for the Tuesday through Friday shows.

“I feel like it did what I wanted it to do,” Lally said. “To give women in the theatre department a vehicle that would showcase and challenge them; student designers, technicians and stage managers the opportunity to contribute in substantive ways to the production; and it gave theatre and athletics the opportunity to collaborate on a project which honors the passion and drive of these women soccer players. We were very happy to go to games and support the players and it was really wonderful to have them in the house supporting us.”

When asked about putting a show together like this again, Lally said all shows are distinctly different. However, when directly asked about teaming up with Athletics, she gave an emphatic answer. “Absolutely.”

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